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Qualcomm, Microsoft announce AR, metaverse partnership at CES

In addition to its AR/VR pedigree, Qualcomm has articulated ambitions to be the “ticket to the metaverse”

While definitions of what the metaverse is, how it will be used, and who will make money off it might vary, it’s a safe bet that the future of immersive interaction will involve extended reality hardware and software, advanced connectivity, and a platform for developers to build on. As such, preeminent technology firms are staking out their positions as evidenced by the flood of metaverse-related announcement coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Qualcomm has long been pushing Extended Reality, XR, which encapsulates augmented, virtual and mixed reality experiences. The San Diego-based fabless semiconductor firm has developed the XR2 5G platform, a reference design for hardware developers, and the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.

At the Snapdragon Tech Summit, hosted by Qualcomm in December, CEO Cristiano Amon addressed the metaverse opporutnity head-on: “Whatever version of the metaverse you like, there’s going to be one thing that is going to be required. You’re going to need a device that will be focused on connecting physical and digital spaces. Snapdragon is your ticket to the metaverse.”

Building on this focus, Qualcomm along with Microsoft used CES to announce a partnership that covers development of bespoke AR chips to push more power efficient and user-friendly hardware to market, “and plans to integrate software like Microsoft Mesh and Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.”

Microsoft Mesh is billed as enabling “presence and shared experiences from anywhere—on any device—through mixed reality applications.” Mesh connects with the Microsoft Teams collaboration app to lend “a feeling of presence through personalized avatars and immersive spaces.” There’s also a Mesh app for the company’s HoloLens hardware, and compatibility with the social VR platform AltspaceVR.

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Mixed Reality, Rubén Caballero said in a statement: “Our goal is to inspire and empower others to collectively work to develop the metaverse future—a future that is grounded in trust and innovation. With services like Microsoft Mesh, we are committed to delivering the safest and most comprehensive set of capabilities to power metaverses that blend the physical and digital worlds, ultimately delivering a shared sense of presence across devices.”

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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